Contemporary artist Ava Roth is not afraid of bees. In fact, honeybees are critical to Roth's mixed-media encaustic artwork which combines beeswax and pigment to create striking abstract compositions. Her recent series Honeycomb Collection embraces the natural products of beehives by working in collaboration with the insects to add their hexagonal combs for the finishing touch on each piece.
The Honeycomb Collection brings together materials both man-made and natural. Most works within the series are composed within two frames. Inside an embroidery hoop, Roth begins with wax, beads, fabric, horsehair, and other materials. The hoop is then placed within a beekeeper's frame and later in a beehive. The frame then fills with honeycombs which naturally integrate with—and spill into—Roth's own work. The result is a cross-species collaboration of great beauty.
Roth's artistic practice is concerned with the health of bees. Her process is, in part, meant to raise awareness for bee populations suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder. But in order to make their partnership a beneficial and successful one, Roth trained under Master Beekeeper Mylee Nordin. The training was indispensable in order to make a successful collaboration. “With honeybees for colleagues, my work has become dependent on things like seasons, sun, brood strength, nectar flow, and pollen sources,” Roth tells My Modern Met. “I’m an impatient person, and so it takes a lot of equanimity to slow myself down and accept that the pieces in this collection are only going to be made when it suits the bees perfectly well to make them. But I do, of course, realize that listening to and then respecting the bees' needs is a big part of the beauty of this project!”
Scroll down to see more of Roth's amazing encaustic works, including her Honeycomb Collection, check out her website.